"A new home and a new school? It is a bit scary."
"I think I can handle it."
"I think I can handle it."
- Father & Chihiro
ChihiroThe ten-year old protagonist of the film. Chihiro is in the process of moving to a new town when her family stumbles upon the entrance to the spirit world. During her adventure she matures from a whiny, self-centered, and pessimistic child to a hard-working, responsible, optimistic young girl who has learned to care for others. She is renamed "Sen" (lit. "a thousand") by the proprietor of the bathhouse, Yubaba.
HakuA young boy who helps Chihiro after her parents have transformed into pigs. Haku works as Yubaba's direct subordinate, often running errands and performing missions for her. He has the ability to fly and his true form is a dragon. Toward the end of the story Chihiro recalls falling into the Kohaku river, of which Haku is the spirit; she thus frees him from Yubaba's service by helping him remember his real name and past, which he had forgotten due to the name change and the curse which Yubaba has placed on him. Haku had entered the spirit world seeking to learn magic from Yubaba, and as a result became an apprentice who followed her every command. When Yubaba is nearby, Haku is as sharp-voiced to Chihiro as to anyone else.
YubabaAn old witch with an inhumanly large head and nose, who supervises the bathhouse. She reluctantly signs Chihiro into a contract. Yubaba then takes Chihiro's name and renames her "Sen" in order to hold power over her for the duration of the contract. She also does this to her other workers, so she can keep them in service forever. Yubaba has an over-bearing and authoritarian personality, but does show a soft side toward her giant baby, Boh. In contrast to her simple and hospitable sister Zeniba, Yubaba lives in opulent quarters and is only interested in taking care of guests for money.
LinA worker at the bathhouse who becomes Chihiro's caretaker. Although aloof at first, she warms up to Chihiro and grows a strong bond with her. At the end, she is happy for Chihiro when the latter finally goes home. Lin states that she wishes to leave the bathouse for some better life.
KamajiAn old man with six arms, who operates the boiler room of the bathhouse. These arms can apparently extend indefinitely, so as to allow him access to the upper cabinets from his original position. A number of Susuwatari work for him by carrying coal into his furnace. He has a large cabinet where he keeps all the herbs that are used in the baths. After some persuasion, he allows Chihiro to work at the bathhouse and even pretends to be her grandfather to protect her, though this ruse does not stand for long. He later takes an injured Haku into his boiler room and cares for him while Chihiro, given train tickets by Kamajii, journeys to Zeniba's cottage. At first he seems cold and uncaring, but by the end of the film he seems to have grown a soft spot for Chihiro and for anyone whom she calls her friend.
No-FaceAn odd spirit who takes an interest in Chihiro. Seeing No Face standing outside in the rain, Chihiro takes pity on the creature and lets him into the bathhouse to take shelter from the storm. At first, he is a strange, cloaked, masked wraith that merely breathes and smiles. No Face is a lonely being who seems to sustain itself on the emotions of those he encounters, particularly their emotional reception to his gifts. He is helpful to Chihiro because she helped him, whereas after observing the bathhouse staff's reaction to gold and his own attempts to win them over with more gold, he reacts to their greed by becoming a grotesque monster which eats lots of food and some of the staff. After Chihiro feeds him the final piece of the medicine ball given to her by the River Spirit, No Face regurgitates everything he consumed, including the bathhouse staff members, all of whom are alive and well. Once he has emptied himself of these foreign influences and left the bathhouse, No Face reverts to his former state. At the end, he stays with Zeniba as a helper.
BohYubaba's son. Although he has the appearance of a young baby, he is twice Yubaba's size. He is also very strong and can be dangerous. Yubaba goes out of her way to give him whatever he wants. When Zeniba turns Boh into a mouse, he becomes good friends with Chihiro and eventually stands up to Yubaba to protect Chihiro.
ZenibaYubaba's older twin sister and rival. Although identical in appearance, their personalities are almost polar opposites. At first she appears no kinder than Yubaba when she becomes enraged at Haku for stealing her magic seal and threatens to take it back, regardless of what happens to Haku. Hoping to gain Zeniba's forgiveness, Chihiro journeys to Zeniba's cottage to return it and apologize. It is then that Zeniba reveals her true character as that of a kind, grandmotherly figure. She forgives Haku for stealing her seal and tells him to look after Chihiro. She then sees everyone off, assuring Chihiro that she will be well.